Shoppping at Big-Box Retail Stores – You Need a Plan!

Big-box retail stores have spread across America. What is a big-box retailer? According to the Investopedia Web site, a big-box retailer is a retail store that occupies a huge amount of physical space and offers a variety of products to customers. These stores operate on volume sales. The volume is high, so the profit margin is low.

While big-box retailers carry a vast array of products, finding them can be a challenge. Do not shop at a big-box retail store when you are hungry. A hungry shopper is a hurried shopper, and you may miss details. Making a plan will save you time and hassle.

1. Get a map. Big-box retailers usually provide store maps for customers. If you are unable to find a map walk around the perimeter of the store to get an idea of the layout. Sketch the store plan on scrap paper.

2. Bring a list. Suzanne Havala Hobbs, a correspondent with “The News & Observer” newspaper in South Carolina, writes about finding healthy food choices in big-box stores. A shopping list helps you to buy healthy foods and “leave the high-calorie junk behind,” Hobbs writes. To save more time you may write your list according to store aisles — produce, meat, dairy, cereal, etc.

3. Bring ads with you. Big-box retailers do an excellent job of training staff, but staff can’t remember every item in every ad. So bring the ad with you to save time and eliminate confusion. Read the fine print and make sure the ad has not expired.

4. Consider extra costs. City residents may have to pay delivery charges at big-box retail stores. “USA Today” writer Theresa Howard describes urban shopping in her article, “Big-Box Stores Squeeze into Big Apple.” Howard says city traffic and the lack of parking “make delivery a New York staple.”

5. Comparison shop. End cap displays — displays at the end of the aisles — are a way to feature products. Some Home office shoppers think end cap products are always sale priced and this may not be true. The only way to find out is to comparison shop.

6. Shop at low traffic times. According to an article, “Impact of Big-Box Stores on Traffic,” published on the Big Box Toolkit Web site, big-box retail stores generate volumes of traffic. “The larger the store, the larger the geographic area from which it pulls,” the article says, and this means more cars. You can avoid getting stuck in traffic by shopping early in the morning or afternoon.

7. Use coupons. Big-box retailers offer week-end specials and sales coupons. Check newspaper ads for these coupons. Also check the big-box store bulletin board displays and pocket displays for coupons and product rebates.

8. Tap technology. The Super Walmart Web site has store maps on it that may be purchased for a small fee. This Web site also contains information about Simply Shopping software, a program for shoppers to buy. The software is store specific and updated regularly.

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